RANZCP welcomes “much-needed” recommendations in SA’s Mental Health Act review
27 Apr 2023
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has welcomed the publication of a review into South Australia’s Mental Health Act (2009).
The RANZCP’s South Australia Branch Committee Chair, Dr Paul Furst, has highlighted several “much-needed” recommendations in the newly published review.
Dr Furst said: “I’m glad this important review has now been published and after the RANZCP submitted a solid and detailed submission as part of the review process.
“We particularly welcome several much-needed recommendations in the review, including a new review on legislation surrounding older persons’ mental health legislation.
“I’m pleased that the review has also recognised the need for state government to work with the RANZCP to provide clear guidelines on decision-making capacity and supported decision making.
“We also support reform of community treatment orders making it easier for them to be reviewed or revoked on a case-by-case basis.”
Dr Furst says it is important that the review highlights the need to resource services efficiently and now he wishes to work with state government to create an accessible mental health system.
“The review was clear that it is critical that mental health services receive the necessary funding to provide effective care for any South Australian needing our support.
“This was an important part of the RANZCP’s feedback to the review and we want our elected representatives to prioritise the treatment of mental health across our state. “
Adelaide-based Professor Sharon Lawn (Executive Director of Lived Experience Australia), who is a member of the RANZCP’s Community Collaboration Committee added: “It is good news that this review has recommended looking at changing the guidelines on decision-making capacity.
“I’m pleased that my feedback on the guidelines, and that of others bringing Lived Experience perspectives, has been given consideration.
“Every person should be treated with respect regardless of their mental health status or their capacity to make decisions at the time
“A person may be in an inpatient unit involuntarily, for example, but they can still want to make choices, however small, and need to be supported and given options to do so. It’s even more important under these circumstances.
“We need system culture change where supported decision-making is part of everyday practice, and education and training for all staff providing services; it begins with making the issue more explicit and expected in the SA Mental Health Act.”
For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.
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The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments and other groups on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit www.ranzcp.org.
In Aotearoa New Zealand: If you or someone you know needs help, 1737 is here to help, for free - Mental Health. You can also contact Lifeline NZ on 0800 543 354 or www.lifeline.org.nz or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865 or www.lifeline.org.nz/suicide-prevention.